Review: Repurposed Pod Cacao Juice
Covers Products: Cacao Juice
Cacao juice is a drink that’s made from the fruit that surrounds the cacao (or “cocoa”) bean. The product is made with just this single ingredient and is, therefore, 100 percent juice.
Using cacao fruit juice as the sole ingredient for a beverage is definitely a somewhat novel idea. Cacao fruit, which has had a long history as a waste product from cocoa production, has been used in a variety of food and beverage products for its natural fruit sugar.
In the case of this product, it’s both the sweetener and the sole source of flavor. If you’re looking at the photo of bottle and thinking there’s going to be a connection to coconut water, we’ll stop you right there: this product is sweet (49g of sugar), high in calories (190), and touts B vitamins and magnesium as its core benefit. While it has an aroma that faintly resembles cocoa, the flavor does not. Instead, we’d describe it as having a bright flavor that’s reminiscent of lime, but without the sourness.
Packaging for the product is, as we alluded to earlier, something that feels reminiscent of coconut water. The product uses an 8.75 oz. fully wrapped bottle, which is slightly more squat and round than the bottle that Harmless Harvest uses for its coconut water. The label uses a design that’s text heavy, which is fine inasmuch as it’s hard to miss the large “CACAO JUICE” on the front of the bottle. There’s a statement about the company's mission to help farmers in Ecuador, which is certainly admirable, but we found ourselves wondering what the name of the brand is (the logo is easy to miss) as well as what it’s going to taste like.
From our perspective, we think it’s going to be quite challenging (beyond the normally challenging road for beverage brands) to build this out as a ready to drink single serve product. Consumers have to be re-educated about what cacao actually means AND the benefits of this product aren’t overly clear. There’s certainly some opportunity to sell this as a mixer of sorts, but that seems like a relatively niche thing to go after.
However, there seems to be some real potential for this product to be used as an ingredient in other products. It’s sweet, it’s juice, and it’s a much less invasive flavor than apple, which might make it work well in other juices or products where added sugar is of concern (i.e. a ton of products). But whether or not it would be better for Repurposed Pod to undertake with their own products or as a bulk ingredient is a question we cannot answer.
In the end, here’s where we stand: this product is a generally well-executed and innovative showcase for cacao juice, but it’s hard to see it thriving in its current unadulterated form. That said, there’s definitely a short term opportunity for the company to sell this as a mixer or add-in, but the bigger opportunity probably lies elsewhere.